Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Ruby Red Is For Love

The ruby slippers were a gift for Mia around Christmastime, a year and a half ago. They were a shiny, deep, dark red, and a little big on my then 3-year-old's feet. She loved them.

Winter blossomed into spring, and she wore them everywhere: at school, through the rain, and while playing dress up. Spring shimmered into summer, and still she danced in the ruby slippers; in the hot summer sun, at the park or at the pool, she wore her ruby slippers faithfully. Summer buzzed into fall, and Mia's feet were growing, but the ruby slippers stayed put -- they matched with nothing and everything at the same time.

Another Christmas surrounded us, and an entire year had passed with the ruby-red shoes on Mia's feet. The shoes had seemed to shrink -- their shimmering ruby patina was scuffed -- but they were mandatory with most outfits. While other shoes of the same size had long been tossed aside for being too small, too pinchy, the ruby slippers were declared to be still perfect.

Mia loved her ruby slippers.

On a day not very long ago, she put them on again, not even needing to look at the straps in order to clasp them correctly. She stood up in her blue and white plaid skirt. She took a few steps. Her long hair fell over her face as she looked down. And she stopped.

The shoes were too small. Finally outgrown. Or, finally admitted to being outgrown.

"Mom," she wondered, "Is it okay if I wear different shoes? These are a little too tight."

I couldn't believe it. The shoes she'd begged and pleaded to wear almost every day for eighteen months, were being given up. I assured my growing girl that she could wear whichever shoes she liked best, and she immediately got to work on finding a different pair. I watched, half in amusement, half in sadness. (Will I ever be a mom who doesn't cling to the babyhood of her children?)

Then, standing with her ruby slippers in her hands, Mia said, "I don't need these shoes anymore, right? Maybe I could offer them to Lauren." And she walked away, to find her sister.

I followed in a haze. The ruby slippers had seemed like a part of Mia, a part about to be willingly handed over to her baby sister. When she found Lauren, Mia sing-songed her way to slipping the too-big shoes onto the too-small feet. Lauren's face was lit with happiness -- her sister's ruby slippers! They wobbled on her feet, but she danced anyway. They slipped off her heels, but she sang about her new shoes. They tripped her up and unsteadied her, but she admired them in the mirror.

The ruby slippers will live on. Scuffed, worn, lovely, and beloved. And now they're even better. Now, they're infused with a sister's generosity.

I think Lauren will walk -- and dance -- a mile in Mia's ruby slippers.


  1. Those shoes are FANTASTIC, but not as fantastic as that little girl. What a sweetheart! I'm glad Lauren has such sweet and pretty shoes to fill.

  2. Lovely, hopefully she will always love the precious things in her life well, and when the time comes pass them on for someone else to enjoy.

  3. "Will I ever be a mom who doesn't cling to the babyhood of her children?"

    I wonder the same EXACT thing every single day.

    I love Mia's heart. I mean, to give a treasure like that and recognize that those shoes could be loved by her sister? She demonstrates such love.

  4. Those shoes are fabulous and adorable all at the same time :)
    We recently went through a similar thing w/ Paige (though not as vocal... lol... but her favorite shoes are too small so we had to find a replacement..) so sad! Fynn's never had favorites or preferences clothes/shoes wise, so it's all new territory.
    But what a sweet, sweet post! Sometimes it's harder for us to let go of their things than it is for them :)

  5. Does it make me overly-emotional that I just CRIED because Mia grew and her beloved slippers stayed the same? This is like the Toy Story 2 of cute shoes!

  6. I just love those girls of yours....and what does that say about their momma? I love that you let her wear her beloved shoes everywhere and that her first thought in letting them go was to give them to her sweet, she must have a FANTASTIC mother!

  7. Oh so sweet! I love that she thought to give them to her little sis! And maybe we all need a pair of ruby slippers!

  8. That is too sweet...especially her asking if it was ok to wear different shoes. :)

  9. Such a great story...thanks for sharing! I hope that whenever we have children they are as sweet and loving as Mia :)

    I just found your blog and started reading recently (it often breaks up my day at work). You are such a talented writer! My husband and I don't have any children yet, but I can't wait to be a stay at home mom and fun filled (most of the time) days like you do with your girls!

  10. Wow, that made me tear up. That is SUCH a sweet little girl, to just hand over her prized ruby slippers.

  11. Too sweet!

    I'm scared beyond words of having another little girl. (Our current princess is a major drama queen.) However, this post almost makes wish for a baby sister for our precious little diva.

    Thanks for Sharing.

  12. Oh my, you pulled a few of my heartstrings with this one. Isn't it great to have second daughter who can continue the "tradition" of certain items? That is one of the many reasons I loved having 2 girls in a row!


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